When a review copy of a comic called Zombie Tramp slinked my way, I had to read it. How could I not? It’s called Zombie Tramp! That alone should make you want to read the review that waits after the jump!
Sexy, violent, offensive in all the right ways
Original concept and art
No recap for new readers
Previously in Zombie Tramp: Poor Janey Belle. Once Hollywood’s highest priced call girl now a zombie thanks to an undead client.
SEXY, VIOLENT, OFFENSIVE AND FUN
Where to start? I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I started reading this. The whole premise was risqué but original enough that I was intrigued enough to look. At best, I was expecting a shallow, distasteful and violent nudey comic that would help me kill ten minutes. I got some of that but I also got quite a sickly entertaining, fun book.
Our undead hooker, excuse me, call girl has awoken in an abandoned brothel after three morons break in. They meet a young girl named Morning living there before being brutally dismembered and eaten by Janey. Morning tells Janey she’s been waiting for her to wake up and that she knows Xula, Janey’s dead friend. Xula’s soul is very much alive and Morning offers to help Janey find her if she agrees to kill Morning’s parents. There is much more to Morning than appears as she has the power to make Janey look alive. The book ends with an unsettling scene of a man murdering his wife and her lover as the wife’s soul leaves her body in search of another.
This was surprising in three ways: it wasn’t horrible, wasn’t completely offensive, and I enjoyed it. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it. With a book like Zombie Tramp, you know what you’ll be getting, but Dan Mendoza writes a story that doesn’t come off as something just meant to tantalize. The humor is great and the premise absurd but original enough that it completely worked. Zombie Tramp is certainly fun but its biggest fault lies in being completely unfriendly to a new reader. Apparently, there was a first volume so this is a sequel/continuation of that story. Unfortunately, apart from a very brief description of the premise the reader is lost as to what has transpired before. Who is the woman at the end (I assume Xula) and has Morning appeared before? There isn’t enough back-story given to connect the readers. The closest I came was the surprising sympathy I felt for Janey when she sheds a bloody tear after learning she can’t look perfect forever. That still didn’t stop me from liking the book though. The gore and violence is great (if you like that sort of thing) and the fact that I found sexiness to it made me do some serious soul searching. While a little one note, there’s definitely enough here that I’ll be reading the following three issues and apparent re-release of volume one.
A SEXY WORLD OF WHITE
Mendoza’s art is the shining highlight of the book. It reminds me of Adam Warren’s Empowered but I enjoyed this more. There’s sexiness to Janey (along with prerequisite big breasts) and all the character designs have a fun, animation look. The coloring is all black and white except for certain colors meant to pop off the page, from Morning’s orange hair, the blue in Janey’s living eyes and, of course, red. And there is a lot of red. Not just the blood but clothing elements as well. Any supernatural character’s dialogue balloons also have a unique color assigned. It was a nice design element I’ve seen before but done in a way fresh way. The gray shading is nicely done and removes any flatness. Throughout the issue, characters routinely stand in front of white or gray space. Normally this is a problem but it’s clearly a stylistic choice by Mendoza and works very well. He makes great use of silhouettes and angular shapes plus the backgrounds he does draw are as good as his characters. Mendoza’s got chops and provides some wonderful work on his creation.
BOTTOM LINE: FOR THE CURIOUS AND DERANGED
Obviously, this won’t appeal to everyone. Dan Mendoza has fashioned a comic full of originality, fun, sexy characters and unique art. It’s violent and sure to offend some, but doesn’t go out of its way to be offensive. The lack of a recap hinders the experience for new readers but there is enough here to hook on to. If you’re like me and have to look you’re sure to find something you’ll like. Even if the title makes you roll your eyes, give it a read. You might be surprised to find something not completely soulless. But with a title like Zombie Tramp, is soulless such a bad thing? Zombie Tramp #1 earns a naughty 3 out of 5 stars.